In Days of Fire, Peter Baker, Chief White House Correspondent for The New York Times, takes us on a gripping and intimate journey through the eight years of the Bush and Cheney administration in a tour-de-force narrative of a dramatic and controversial presidency.
Theirs was the most captivating American political partnership since Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger: a bold and untested president and his seasoned, relentless vice president. Confronted by one crisis after another, they struggled to protect the country, remake the world, and define their own relationship along the way. In Days of Fire, Peter Baker chronicles the history of the most consequential presidency in modern times through the prism of its two most compelling characters, capturing the elusive and shifting alliance of George Walker Bush and Richard Bruce Cheney as no historian has done before. He brings to life with in-the-room immediacy all the drama of an era marked by devastating terror attacks, the Iraq War, Hurricane Katrina, and financial collapse.
The real story of Bush and Cheney is a far more fascinating tale than the familiar suspicion that Cheney was the power behind the throne. Drawing on hundreds of interviews with key players, and thousands of pages of never-released notes, memos, and other internal documents, Baker paints a riveting portrait of a partnership that evolved dramatically over time, from the early days when Bush leaned on Cheney, making him the most influential vice president in history, to their final hours, when the two had grown so far apart they were clashing in the West Wing. Together and separately, they were tested as no other president and vice president have been, first on a bright September morning, an unforgettable "day of fire" just months into the presidency, and on countless days of fire over the course of eight tumultuous years.
Days of Fire is a monumental and definitive work that will rank with the best of presidential histories. As absorbing as a thriller, it is eye-opening and essential listening.
©2013 Peter Baker (P)2013 Random House Audio
"Peter Baker tells the story of Bush and Cheney with the precision of a crack reporter and the eye and ear of a novelist. This is perhaps the most consequential pairing of a president and vice president in our history. And Baker captures it all - the triumphs and defeats, the partnership and eventual estrangement. It is a splendid mix of sweeping history and telling anecdotes that will keep you turning the page." (Chris Wallace, anchor of Fox News Sunday)
"9/11, two long wars, a crushing recession, neo-cons, and turf wars defined the first decade of 21st-century American politics. In the middle of it all, the president and his powerful vice-president. The complicated and then contentious relationship between Bush and Cheney is worthy of Shakespeare. Peter Baker’s Days of Fire is a book for every presidential hopeful and every citizen." (Tom Brokaw, author of The Greatest Generation)
First off, I'll admit I was no fan of George W Bush yet still the man intrigued me. Could he really be as dumb, arrogant, and stubborn as his persona suggests? Well, according to this well written account of his White House years, the answer is yes and no. This is a nicely nuanced portrait of the Bush and Cheney partnership that really only lasted he first term of the presidency. All of Bush's failings are in display here and the author links these in subtle ways with W's character flaws. At the same time, this is hardly a hatchet job. Undeniably the Bush presidency was a time of monumental challenges, some of Bush and Cheney's own making, some not. The influence of each man on the other is depicted in an almost Shakespearian tragic way as initial successes lead to epic failures and estrangement. A compelling read that will likely not satisfy hard core Bush apologists or detractors, this is well worth the read for anyone seeking a better understanding of he partner ship that made he White House tick.
Just like you, I spend my money here and am not on any author's payroll :)
Overall - very good and well worth the listen.
The last portion of Part I and into Part II are very emotional as the author describes how Bush reacted to and handled 9/11 in real time. I was moved to tears also during certain parts of that portion of the recording. Dubya handled it the best anyone could do at the time, and although I have issues with the rest of his presidency...the description of that period and how he and Cheney handled it are worth the entire cost of the title.
While the facts seem pretty damning, the administration of George W. Bush receives an almost fawning treatment as a history. NY Times White House correspondent Peter Baker relies too heavily on inside accounts of what happened during America's lost decade. Presidential official insiders give their slanted view and spin on the disaster caused by all the wrong decisions. History would be better served by a more critical voices and more insightful analysis.
Washington Post reporter Barton Gellman's "Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency" provides keener analysis and far more revealing reporting on how Cheney became the power behind the throne. The book provides many revelations and behind the scenes details than Baker's book.
The narrator does a fantastic job to keep the listener involved.
The book writes a sympathetic history of the George W. Bush. Republicans will love this book as it seems to vindicate all the bad decisions made. As a student of history or as a Democrat, most readers will find this book lacks balance.
If you think Bush was a great President, buy this audiobook. If you are a Democrat, the memories of this worst President of modern times will be painful. So much for the liberal media, the New York Times gives him a passing grade.
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